The Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries air lots of great movies throughout the year, but which ones are the best Hallmark movies 2023? Here's a look at some of my favorites, and I'll also share ones that I think you should skip. I mean if we're going to talk about the best new movies, I think we also should chat about the worst.
Overview of Hallmark Movies for 2023
One thing that was clear to me this year was that the Hallmark Channel was back to pre-pandemic levels. Over the last two years, the movies shown on the network were clearly hindered by the pandemic.
Storylines took place in small towns and there weren't many, if any, destination movies. But that was not the case in 2023. There were a lot of destination movies, and I have to say that I LOVED it! I don't get to travel to exotic places myself, so to go on a trip vicariously through these movies is a lot of fun.
New Actors and Actresses on Hallmark Channel
The other thing that was clear is that the network is still trying to fill the void of all the actors and actresses who jumped ship to join The Great American Family network. From Candace Cameron Bure, Danica McKellar, and Jill Wagner, Hallmark had big shoes to fill.
I'm not sure that all of the new actors or actresses rose to the level of the departed crew, however it was nice to see Hallmark trying to bring in new blood. There was more variety in the casts, and this was a welcome change.
List of the New Hallmark Movies 2023
Excluding all of the Christmas movies, there were about 60 new movies that aired on either the Hallmark Channel or Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Here's a list of those movies (listed in the order they aired during the year).
- The Dog Lover's Guide to Dating
- Family History Mysteries Buried Past
- The Wedding Veil Inspiration
- The Wedding Veil Expectations starring Lacey Chabert and Kevin McGarry.
- The Wedding Veil Journey
- Love in Glacial National
- Sweeter Than Chocolate starring Lacey Chabert
- A Paris Proposal starring Alexa PenaVega
- Curious Caterer: Grilling Season starring Nikki Deloach and Andrew Walker
- Welcome to Valentine
- Made for Each Other
- Love Romance and Chocolate
- A Nashville Legacy
- The Blessing Bracelet
- The Love Club: Nicole's Pen Pal
- Game of Love
- Unexpected Grace
- A Winning Team
- The Cases of Mystery Lane
- A Picture of Her
- Love in the Maldives
- The Professional Bridesmaid
- The Wedding Cottage
- A Pinch of Portugal
- Hearts in the Game
- When Love Springs
- Dream Moms
- Hannah Swensen Mysteries starring Alison Sweeney. Two movies including Carrot Cake Murder
- Love in Zion National: A National Park Romance
- The Love Club: Sydney's Journey
- Wedding Season
- The Jane Mysteries: Inheritance Lost
- Aurora Teagarden Mysteries
- A Lifelong Love
- Aloha Heart
- Making Waves
- A Safari Romance
- Never Too Late to Celebrate
- Dream Wedding
- Napa Ever After
- Learning to Love
- Love in the Smoky Mountains: A National Park Romance about a former couple who end-up at the same archeological dig at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They find themselves competing against each other for the same research grant, while old feelings resurface.
- Big River Sky: The Bridal Path
- Guiding Emily
- Fourth Down and Love starring Ryan Paevey and Pascale Hutton. College sweethearts reunite and rekindle their relationship. She is a single mom who is supporting her young daughter, and he is as a professional football player who is home to recuperate from an injury. They work together to help out a girls flag football team, and in the process they get to re-examine their relationship.
- Come Fly With Me
- One Perfect Match
- Notes of Autumn
- Loves Can Surprise You
- Haunted Harmony Mysteries
- Retreat to You
- Mystery Island
- A Harvest Homecoming
- A Very Venice Romance
- Craft Me a Romance
- 3 Bed, 2 Bath, 1 Ghost
- Field Day
Hallmark Movies Themes for 2023
In addition to lots of destination movies for 2023, there were also some other common themes this year. In 2022, Hallmark introduced the Wedding Veil trilogy. It was a series of movies about three best friends.
Each movie focused on one of the friends, played by Lacey Chabert, Alison Sweeney, and Autumn Reeser. Each one found love in these movies and in 2023 Hallmark continued the trilogy with three more movies about the next phase of their relationships.
With the success of the Wedding Veil movies, Hallmark must have figured they would try it again because they used the same format with a new group of friends. In The Love Club movies, Hallmark introduced a new group of friends for us to follow.
Hallmark also introduced a group of movies about national parks. The characters were all different in these movies, but the common theme was that each one took place in a national park. While not really destination movies like ones that transport us to Maldives or Paris, these movies still took us on adventures and branched out from the typical small villages portrayed in many Hallmark movies.
Ghosts! There were two movies about ghosts in 2023. I find this happens a lot with Hallmark movies. Sometimes they come up with what they think is a new idea and they end-up using it in numerous movies. It's like the Christmas where every network ran a story about making wine from ice grapes. The first time it's new and different, but when it becomes a theme it gets old. But with that being said, at least one of these movies made my list for best Hallmark movies 2023.
The Best Hallmark Movies 2023
With so many movies to choose from, you would think it would be hard to choose the best Hallmark movies 2023 had to offer. But the truth is, there are usually only a few that stand out. The type of movie that you remember at the end of the year and would want to see again. For me, the following movies fall into that category.
Unexpected Grace starring Erica Durance. I really liked Unexpected Grace because it was a unique story. It wasn't your typical love story, and it certainly didn't follow Hallmark's usual pattern. You know what I mean. Single mother trying to juggle life after losing her spouse. Not looking for love, but ultimately finds it. It's the usual formula that works so well for Hallmark, but it's always refreshing when they branch out and give us new stories.
Guiding Emily starring Sarah Drew. This is my favorite Hallmark movie of 2023. First, it has Sarah Drew. You may know her from her years as April on Grey's Anatomy. A great actress who is so authentic and natural on screen. And this story also includes a dog, so need I say more. It's a wonderful story about a woman who overcomes losing her sight, and how she finds the strength to move forward stronger than before.
Notes of Autumn stars Ashley Williams, Marcus Rosner, and Luke Macfarlane. If you're a fan of the 2006 Christmas movie, The Holiday, then you'll love this movie. Best friends, Ellie (Ashley) and Leo (Luke), need a change of scenery so they swap houses. It's just the change they each need to reinvigorate their lives, get inspired in their work, and of course find love.
The Blessing Bracelet starring Amanda Schull and Carlo Marks. This was an Easter movie that I really enjoyed. When a single mother needs help, she falls back on her faith and the blessing bracelets that she used to make when she was younger. She starts sharing them with people and it opens up opportunities for her.
Never Too Late to Celebrate starring real life couple Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega. I always enjoy their movies because they of course have such a natural chemistry together. So even when the storyline is mediocre, these two always elevate it to something better. Never Too Late to Celebrate is a fun and lighthearted movie that reminds us that we're never too old to celebrate special occasions. Work hard but play hard too. Life is a balance, and this movie reminds us of that.
Love in the Maldives is a story about a travel writer who goes to the Maldives and falls in love with the resort's guest experience expert. Now I wouldn't put this in the same category as Guiding Emily, but I did enjoy this movie and I thought the story was a nice change. I also appreciated that the storyline included a younger cast, and a great location. I just felt that it was something new and different which I liked.
3 Bed, 2 Bath, 1 Ghost. This movie was about a real estate agent trying to sell a house that is haunted by a spirit who hasn't crossed over. As the only person who can see the ghost, Anna (Julie Gonzalo) is torn between needing to sell the house, but also wanting to help Ruby (Madeleine Arthur) solve her murder so that she can move on. I really enjoyed this movie because it had great humor, a brilliant cast, and a unique storyline.
Curious Caterer Mysteries: Fatal Vows. There were two Curious Caterer movies in 2023 and Fatal Vows was my favorite. I mean you can't go wrong with any movie that includes Nikki Deloach and Andrew Walker, but this one was even better than usual. There has always been a lot of flirting and playful banter amongst their characters, but nothing romantic has happened. I think this will change in the next Curious Caterer movie.
Next up for Nikki? A World Record Christmas on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. As a mother of child who is on the spectrum, I'm really looking forward to this movie. It's the story of a boy with autism who has a goal to set a guinness world record. And of course, true to a Hallmark Christmas movie, Christmas Eve is when he gets the good news.
My Hope for Hallmark Movies 2024
So now that we've looked at the best Hallmark movies 2023, I can't help but look ahead to 2024 and think about what I'd like to see. My wish list would include more movies with stars from the Hallmark series Chesapeake Shores. Now that the show has ended, it's the perfect time for Meghan Ory and some of the other cast members to make new Hallmark Movies.
Barbara Niven is one Chesapeake Shores cast member who appears in several Hallmark movies throughout the year. She is part of the Hannah Swensen Mysteries series, and she's always in at least one holiday movie each year. In 2023 she stars in Ms Christmas Comes to Town. She plays a shopping channel host who goes on a multi-city excursion set out to spread Christmas cheer to her fans.
I hope that Hallmark can get a good mystery series going in 2024. This has been the area hit hardest by the departure of Hallmark fan favorites who left for Great American Family. Their departure meant the end of the Mystery 101 series, and the Aurora Teagarden series. Hallmark did air an Aurora movie this year, but it told the story of a young Aurora. I'm not sure that they would be able to continue this as a series with a younger Ro, but we'll see. I actually really enjoyed the new version.
I'd also love to see more movies with Bethany Joy Lenz. I loved her 2021 movie an Unexpected Christmas and I'm looking forward to seeing her in A Biltmore Christmas this year. But I think she'd be great in a mystery series, or some other recurring series.
In A Biltmore Christmas she plays screenwriter Lucy Hardgrove, who is hired to work on the remake of a classic Christmas story. But when the head of the studio doesn't like what she comes up with, it leads to a time traveling experience for Lucy as she travels back to when the original story took place.
The holiday season is right around the corner, and Hallmark kicks off their new holiday-themed collection of movies starting October 20th. Be sure to come back and visit my article about the best Hallmark Christmas movies of 2023.